June 7, 2019

Age Friendly Raymond survey results are ready

By Sheila Bourque

It has been a long journey but Age Friendly Raymond (AFR) has published the results of the community assessment conducted last year. The AFR Steering Committee recognized the importance of an independent review early in the process to ensure that the review, analysis and recommendations were unbiased. The survey was based on the work of other Maine communities and was reviewed and approved by AARP. This report will serve as the foundation for AFR to develop action plans based on what Raymond residents identified as their concerns and needs to make Raymond a more livable community.

In 2018, a group of interested volunteers received a grant from AARP to research perceptions of residents relative to livability in Raymond. AFR created a survey instrument based on the eight domains of livability created by the World Health Organization (WHO) and promoted by the AARP (eight domains). The eight domains of livability are: outdoor spaces and buildings, transportation, housing, social participation, respect and social inclusion, civic participation and employment, communication and information, and community and health services.

AFR circulated the survey among Raymond residents utilizing written media and local collection boxes, as well as offering on-line options via multiple Raymond organizations' websites. Approximately 300 residents of Raymond completed the survey. The AFR reached out to Kimberly Post, Director of Community-Based Learning at Saint Joseph’s College, who connected the group to John Kenneally’s marketing research class. The class organized itself into self-managed groups that analyzed the results of the survey. Their analysis forms the basis for the report.

The survey showed that residents feel that Raymond is a safe place to live with a great library and recreational opportunities. More than 95% of respondents have access to the internet. The challenges residents face includes public transportation, communication, home health, in-home repairs and maintenance, and the need for property tax relief.  Lack of transportation options, access to health services, and support for mostly independent living can damage the ability of older people to thrive as they age in place. All were areas of concern. Communication, civic participation, social inclusion, and social participation would be improved if people knew how and where to access the information needed.

AFR would like to thank St. Joseph’s College, Professor John Kenneally and the students of his Marketing 302 class for their work in producing this survey analysis and results report. We would also like to thank AARP for their funding grant and Peter Gartland of First Light Home Care for his financial support.  This project has been more than a year in the making and our all-volunteer group could not have accomplished it without their support.

AFR will be meeting to develop action plans to address the concerns identified by residents. The results of the survey can be found on our website agefriendlyraymond.org. If you would like more information or to become involved, drop us a note at agefriendlyraymond@gmail.com.

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